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Book club guide: Summer of My Amazing Luck, by Miriam Toews

Author: Canadian Living

Community & Current Events

Book club guide: Summer of My Amazing Luck, by Miriam Toews

1. What role does luck play in the novel? What constitutes Lucy's amazing luck in your view?

2. How do the characters in Summer of My Amazing Luck find a way to bring joy into their lives despite their circumstances?

3. What does the novel reveal about our society's attitude toward welfare? Consider, for instance, how the women of Half-a-Life are treated with respect to having boyfriends or taking a vacation. Did the novel change your own views on social assistance or the people who receive it?

4. What does Lucy's father mean when he tells her "Life is not a joke"? What does Lucy mean when she says "I wanted my life to be funny"?

5. How did you react to Lucy's plan to fabricate letters from Gotcha to Lish? Were you surprised by Lish's reaction when she discovers the truth?

6. How do the women of Half-a-Life seek to create an identity for themselves beyond "single mother on the dole"? What do Lucy and Lish think of this label?

7. "Mothers you can be sure of, fathers, well…they're the kind of people whose heads always get chopped off in pictures." Discuss the role of mothers and fathers in the novel.

8. Have you ever known anyone like Lish? Which of her antics, wisecracks and personality traits did you enjoy the most? Would you want her as a friend or neighbour?

9. What is the significance of the birth scene at the end of the novel – both symbolically and in terms of character development and plot? What realizations does Lucy come to?

10. How does Lucy begin to come to terms with her mother's death?

11. For those of you who have read Toews's previous books, discuss the role of the physically or psychologically absent father. Also, consider the way in which Toews portrays a small community in relation to the outside world.

12. In what ways might Lucy Van Alstyne of Summer of My Amazing Luck be considered a literary sister to Nomi Nickel of A Complicated Kindness?


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Book club guide: Summer of My Amazing Luck, by Miriam Toews

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